START OF SEASON PLANS

NEWS Thursday 7th February 2008, 7:28pm

by Mike Hunter

Edinburgh's directors met last week to plan the run-in to the new season.

Admission prices for the 2008 season at Armadale will be ?13.50 for adults, ?10 for OAPs and ?5 for children under 16. The under-12s, though, will be admitted free of charge if accompanied by an adult.

The prices are up a bit on last season, though supporters will recall that there was no increase in admissions between 2006 and 2007.

Four of the 2008 team are still overseas, but the Aussie duo of Matthew Wethers and Aaron Summers have completed their racing commitments back home and will be preparing to return to the UK at the end of this month.

For Wethers this will all be ?old hat' but for Summers it is a big step, facing his first full UK season.

No-one will be putting too much pressure on the virtual newcomer, who reaches the age of 20 on 1st March, but it is hard not to be pretty optimistic after seeing how well he has done back home. A 12-point total (including the two fastest times) was a very impressive return from the recent Under-21 championship.

Ryan Fisher will be over in early March with his family, and his daughter Abby-Joe has a first birthday coming up round about now. The club are currently looking for suitable accommodation for the Americans.

William Lawson will be the first Monarch to ride a bike in anger in 2008 because he will be competing in the Telford event on 24th February, just 3 days before his 21st birthday.

Not many Monarchs have competed in this in the past (Henrik Moller was there last year) but William's bike-riding talent could find him suited to this form of racing.

It is hoped to start track preparation work shortly, including tidying and painting at the stadium, and any volunteers are requested to join the work party from Saturday 23rd February.

Although Alan Bridgett has been unwell over the last few weeks, he is back home and recuperating so it is hoped he will be supervising at least when the track work begins.

There will be a new race jacket unveiled shortly, selected from Allan McDade's designs by Stewart Melrose of sponsors Scotwaste, and the main feature is an increase in the colour yellow as well as something of a return to traditions of the past.

Practise day has been set for Friday 7th March with a probable start time of 2:30pm. It hasn't been decided yet whether the public can be admitted to this (there are always insurance problems) but in any case there will be a chance to meet the new team.

As last year it is intended to have a social gathering on that Friday evening, probably this time in the West Lothian area.

General expectations seem to be good amongst Edinburgh supporters this season, though everyone recognises that the ?new boys' Ryan Fisher and Thomas Jonasson will need to be given time to settle. They have little or no experience of the Premier League circuits, Fisher having been at Newport last year and probably King's Lynn in the past and Jonasson nowhere at all in the UK!

The final full month of the winter will be spent trying to raise the level of sponsorship and advertising for the new season, with marketing manager John McGillivray leading the way.